Today’s digital landscape is more complex than ever. This can make it challenging for businesses and social media marketing agency owners to truly know how to measure and optimize their ads. Thankfully, there are some social media platforms that are looking out for businesses, working to make it easier for brands to analyze the performance of their ads.
To help brands better understand the impact their ads have across multiple channels and devices, Facebook has rolled out a new free tool! And in this article, I’m going to be taking a closer look at Facebook’s Attribution Tool and the benefits of understanding which of your ads work and the impact they have on the customer’s path to conversion.
What is Attribution and How Does it Help?
Attribution is the process of matching actions, such as purchases, to specific marketing channels so you can measure the impact of those channels on your business. With this information, you can then determine the return on investment (ROI).
The issue with tracking things like ROI is that people don’t just buy products using one device in a single session, so it’s difficult to get accurate information. With Facebook Attribution, you can understand the impact of your ads across publishers, channels, and devices.
This includes and goes beyond Facebook—not only the organic referrals from Google and others but also your non-Facebook advertising efforts. With Facebook Attribution, you are able to see how your ads on Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network and Messenger are contributing to incremental business results compared to if you were not running ads.
To gain a better understanding of your audience’s digital journey, you can use cross-device reporting to learn the device your customers were using when they engaged with your ads, as well as where they converted. These insights will help marketers determine if their ads are effective, show what ad type audiences find most engaging, and which campaign type is getting results.
Reports in this tool include charts that show which types of ads people interacted with the most, and insights into purchases not only from paid but also organic and direct sources, so you can see the true ROI of your ad spend.
The Facebook Attribution tool includes metrics that actually calculate your return on ad spends, so it’s easy to justify the true business value these efforts are bringing to your organization.
Plus, if you’ve already set up your Facebook Pixel or Facebook SDK for app events, and you’ve already been using UTM parameters with your ads, no additional setup is required to use Facebook Attribution.
How to Set Up the Facebook Attribution Tool for Your Business
The first step in using the Facebook Attribution tool is to configure it based on your business type. To do this, head to the Ads Manager main menu, look to the Measure & Report column and click Attribution.
Once the Attribution tool dashboard loads, you will see a welcome screen. Click Get Started and a new window will appear where you choose how your business is organized. Facebook gives you multiple options: Single Business; Separate Brands, Verticals or Regions; and Agency. In this article, we’re focusing on how to set it up as a single business, so select Single Business and click Confirm.
Group Your Ad Accounts and Data Sources
At this point, you’ll see a row and multiple columns that say no ad account, pixel, or currency selected. Click the pencil icon and type in a name for your line of business. Next, click Set Up Line of Business.
Once you do this, another new window will appear with a three-step process to select your ad accounts, data sources, currency, and time zone.
First, select your ad account from the list of ad accounts you have access to and then click Next. Now choose the pixel associated with your ad account. If you haven’t installed the pixel yet, set it up and install the Facebook pixel on your website. After you make your selection, click Next.
Finally, set your time zone and currency. You can’t change these settings later so make sure they’re correct. Once set, click Confirm.
Tip: click Use Recommended and Facebook will pull the time zone and currency from the linked ad account.
You’ll then be taken back to the main view, but this time, you’ll see the ad account, pixel, currency, and time zone info you just set up. Click Finish.
On the next page, review your settings and if everything looks okay, click Finish. Your business line will load (it can take a few minutes) and then you’ll see the Settings tab with a status bar for your setup.
There are three status stages: Line of Business Created; Clicks, Impressions, and Visits; and Conversions. You’ll see a checkmark next to Line of Business, and you’ll see Waiting for the next two stages.
Wait for the data to populate from your campaigns and pixel. It can take an hour or more to start receiving data.
Check That You’re Receiving Data
To ensure that your data is being received correctly, navigate to the Settings tab in the Attribution tool’s dashboard and look for a green banner confirming that data is being received. Below that, you’ll see a row of the event actions and visits received on the day you’re checking it.
View Your Facebook Attribution Tool Data
The Attribution tool allows you to analyze your results based on your conversion events. Once you’ve started collecting data, choose the conversion event you want to analyze from the drop-down list in the top-right corner.
The conversion events you see in the drop-down list depend on which events you’ve installed on your website. If you’re tracking leads, you’ll see Website Leads as an option. If you’re an eCommerce company, you’ll see various eCommerce actions such as Add to Cart, Initiate Checkout, and Purchase.
Specify a Timeframe for Data Analysis
Once you’ve selected the conversion event, choose the date range you want to view. The Attribution tool only populates data from the time you set it up and does not populate historical data. So to analyze data over a weekly or monthly period, you’ll have to wait 7-30 days from the time you set up attribution to actually analyze it.
However, you can start analyzing the data in the first 24-72 hours, depending on your daily ad spend and the number of conversion events recorded.
Set Your Attribution Model and Attribution Window
The final component to set when viewing attribution data is the choice of your attribution model and attribution window.
This is the aspect that makes this tool particularly interesting. Facebook has expanded the number of attribution models beyond the default last-click model you see in your regular Ads Manager reporting. They’ve also introduced new shorter and longer attribution windows. So if you have high daily budgets, you can get more granular with your data analysis. If you have lower daily budgets, you can get a big picture view over a longer period of time.
Facebook Attribution is going to be a valuable tool for marketers as it helps them to evaluate their paid ads through a new lens. It will help them redefine what success looks like in a paid campaign and strategize accordingly. As is always important when running campaigns, marketers should continue to test and tweak new things, but with Facebook Attribution, they will be able to make more informed decisions about which adjustments to make.
Marketers should be sure to utilize the Facebook Attribution tool, as it will provide valuable insight into not only how we can improve our paid campaigns, but also about our personas, their behavior, and how we can best adapt our strategy to cater to these behaviors.
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